RAC - 2.0 AIRSPACE – REQUIREMENTS AND PROCEDURES
- 2.1 General
- 2.2 Canadian Domestic Airspace
- 2.3 High and Low Level Airspace
- 2.4 Flight Information Regions
- 2.5 Controlled Airspace
- 2.6 High Level Controlled Airspace
- 2.7 Low Level Controlled Airspace
- 2.8 Airspace Classification
- 2.9 Other Airspace Divisions
- 2.10 Altimeter Setting Region
- 2.11 Standard Pressure Region
- 2.12 Mountainous Regions
- 2.13 Emergency Communications and Security
Canadian airspace is divided into a number of categories, which in turn are subdivided into a number of areas and zones. The various rules are simplified by the classification of all Canadian airspace. This section describes all of the above in detail, as well as the regulations and procedures specific to each. The official designation of all airspace is published in the DAH. Canadian airspace is managed by NAV CANADA in accordance with the terms established for the transfer of the air navigation system (ANS) from government operation to NAV CANADA, and with the rights granted to the corporation pursuant to the Civil Air Navigation Services Commercialization Act.
2.2 Canadian Domestic Airspace
Canadian Domestic Airspace (CDA) includes all airspace over the Canadian land mass, the Canadian Arctic, Canadian Archipelago and those areas of the high seas within the airspace boundaries. These boundaries are depicted on the Enroute Charts.
2.2.1 Northern Domestic Airspace
Canadian Domestic Airspace is geographically divided into the Southern Domestic Airspace and the Northern Domestic Airspace as indicated in Figure 2.1. In the Southern Domestic Airspace, magnetic track is used to determine cruising altitude for direction of flight.
The Magnetic North Pole is located near the centre of the Northern Domestic Airspace, therefore magnetic compass indications may be erratic. Thus, in this airspace, runway heading is given in true and true track is used to determine cruising altitude for direction of flight in lieu of magnetic track.
Figure 2.1 – Boundaries of Canadian Domestic Airspace, Northern Domestic Airspace and Southern Domestic Airspace
2.3 High and Low Level Airspace
The CDA is further divided vertically into low level airspace, which consists of all of the airspace below 18 000 ft ASL; and high level airspace which consists of all airspace from 18 000 ft ASL and above.
2.3.1 Cruising Altitudes and Cruising Flight Levels Appropriate to Aircraft Track
1. The appropriate altitude or flight level for an aircraft in level cruising flight is determined in accordance with:
(a) the magnetic track, in SDA; and
(b) the true track, in NDA.
2. When an aircraft is operated in level cruising flight:
(a) at more than 3000 ft AGL, in accordance with VFR;
(b) in accordance with IFR; or
(c) during a CVFR flight.
The pilot-in-command of an aircraft shall ensure that the aircraft is operated at an altitude or flight level appropriate to the track, unless assigned an altitude or flight level by an ATC unit or by written authority from the Minister.
3. RVSM cruising flight levels appropriate to aircraft track are applicable in designated RVSM airspace.
4. The pilot-in-command of an aircraft operating within controlled airspace between 18 000 ft ASL and FL600, inclusive, shall ensure that the aircraft is operated in accordance with IFR unless otherwise authorized in writing by the Minister. (CAR 602.34)
Figure 2.2 – Flight Information Regions
2.4 Flight Information Regions
A Flight Information Region (FIR) is an airspace of defined dimensions extending upwards from the surface of the earth, within which flight information service and alerting services are provided. The Canadian Domestic Airspace is divided into the Vancouver, Edmonton, Winnipeg, Toronto, Montréal, Moncton and Gander Domestic Flight Information Regions. Gander Oceanic is an additional FIR allocated to Canada by ICAO for the provision of flight information and alerting services over the high seas.
Canadian Flight Information Regions are described in the Designated Airspace Handbook (TP l820E), and are depicted on the Enroute Charts and illustrated in Figure 2.2.
Agreements have been effected between Canada and the United States to permit reciprocal air traffic control services outside of the designate national FIR boundaries. An example is V300 and J500 between SSM and YQT. The control of aircraft in US airspace delegated to a Canadian ATC unit is effected by applying the Canadian rules, procedures and separation minima with the following exceptions:
- aircraft will not be cleared to maintain “1 000 feet on top”;
- ATC vertical separation will not be discontinued on the basis of visual reports from the aircraft; and
- Canadian protected airspace criteria for track separation will not be used.
2.5 Controlled Airspace
Controlled airspace is the airspace within which air traffic control service is provided and within which some or all aircraft may be subject to air traffic control. Types of controlled airspace are:
(a) in the High Level Airspace:
– the Southern, Northern and Arctic Control Areas.
NOTE: Encompassed within the above are high level airways, the upper portions of some military terminal control areas and terminal control areas.
(b) in the Low Level Airspace:
– low level airways, – control zones,
– terminal control areas, – transition areas,
– control area extensions, – military terminal control areas.
2.5.1 Use of Controlled Airspace by VFR Flights
Due to the speeds of modern aircraft, the difficulty in visually observing other aircraft at high altitudes and the density of air traffic at certain locations and altitudes, the “see and be seen” principle of VFR separation cannot always provide positive separation. Accordingly, in certain airspace and at certain altitudes VFR flight is either prohibited or subject to specific restrictions prior to entry and during flight.
2.5.2 Aircraft Speed Limit Order
According to CAR 602.32, no person shall operate an aircraft in Canada;
- below 10 000 ft ASL at an indicated airspeed of more than 250 kt; or
- below 3 000 ft AGL within 10 NM of a controlled airport at an indicated airspeed of more than 200 kt unless authorized to do so in an air traffic control clearance.
- A person may operate an aircraft at an indicated airspeed greater than the airspeeds referred to in (a) and (b) above where the aircraft is being operated
- on departure, or
- in accordance with a special flight operations certificate – special aviation event issued under CAR 603.
- Where the minimum safe speed, given the aircraft configuration, is greater than the speed referrred to in (a) or (b) above, the aircraft shall be operated at the minimum safe speed.
2.6 High Level Controlled Airspace
Controlled airspace within the High Level Airspace is divided into three separate areas. They are the Southern Control Area (SCA), the Northern Control Area (NCA) and the Arctic Control Area (ACA). Their lateral dimensions are illustrated in Figure 2.3. Figure 2.4 illustrates their vertical dimensions which are: SCA, 18 000 feet ASL and above; NCA, FL230 and above; ACA, FL270 and above. The volume and concentration of international air traffic transiting the NCA and ACA on random tracks can create enroute penalties to users by preventing maximum utilization of the airspace. To ensure the flow of traffic is accommodated efficiently, a track system has been established which interacts with the established airway system in the SCA and Alaska. Use of these tracks is mandatory at certain periods of the year.
Pilots are reminded that both the NCA and the ACA are within the Northern Domestic Airspace; therefore, compass indications may be erratic, and true tracks are used in determining the flight level at which to fly. In addition, the airspace from FL330 to FL410 within the lateral dimensions of the NCA, the ACA and the northern part of the SCA has been designated CMNPS airspace. Special procedures apply within this airspace. See RAC 12.5 for details.
Figure 2.3 – Southern, Northern and Arctic Control Areas
Figure 2.4 – Vertical Dimensions of Southern, Northern and Arctic Control Areas
2.7 Low Level Controlled Airspace
2.7.1 Low Level Airways
Controlled low-level airspace extends upward from 2 200 ft AGL up to, but not including, 18 000 ft ASL, within the following specified boundaries:
(a) VHF/UHF Airways: The basic VHF/UHF airway width is 4 NM on each side of the centre line prescribed for such an airway. Where applicable, the airway width shall be increased between the points where lines, diverging 4.5° on each side of the centre line from the designated facility, intersect the basic width boundary; and where they meet, similar lines projected from the adjacent facility.
Figure 2.5(a) – VHF/UHF Airway Dimensions
Where a Victor airway is established based on a VOR/VORTAC and NDB, the boundaries of that airway will be those of an LF/MF airway [see Figure 2.5(b)].
Figure 2.5(b) – VHF/UHF Airway Based on VOR and NDB
(b) LF/MF Airways: The basic LF/MF airway width is 4.34 NM on each side of the centreline prescribed for such an airway. Where applicable, the airway width shall be increased between the points where lines, diverging 5° on each side of the centreline from the designated facility, intersect the basic width boundary; and where they meet, similar lines projected from the adjacent facility.
Figure 2.6 – LF/MF Airway Dimensions
(c) T-Routes: Low-level controlled fixed RNAV routes have dimensions of 4 NM of primary obstacle protection area, plus 2 NM of secondary obstacle protection area on each side of the centreline. The airspace associated with RNAV T-routes is 10 NM on each side of the centreline. RNAV T-route airspace and protection areas do not splay.
Figure 2.7(a) – Fixed RNAV Route
Figure 2.7(b) – Fixed RNAV Route Cross Section
2.7.2 Control Area Extensions
Control area extensions are designated around aerodromes where the controlled airspace provided is insufficient to permit the required separation between IFR arrivals and departures and to contain IFR aircraft within controlled airspace. A control area extension provides:
(a) additional controlled airspace around busy aerodromes for IFR control. The controlled airspace contained within the associated control zone and airway(s) width is not always sufficient to permit the manœuvring required to separate IFR arrivals and departures; or
(b) connecting controlled airspace, e.g., a control area extension is used to connect a control zone with the enroute structure.
Control area extensions are based at 2 200 feet AGL unless otherwise specified and extend up to, but not including 18 000 feet ASL. Some control area extensions, such as those which extend to the oceanic controlled airspace, may be based at other altitudes such as 2 000, 5 500 or 6 000 feet ASL. The outer portions of some other control area extensions may be based at higher levels.
2.7.3 Control Zones
Control zones are designated around certain aerodromes to keep IFR aircraft within controlled airspace during approaches and to facilitate the control of VFR and IFR traffic.
Control zones having a civil control tower within a terminal control area normally have a 7-NM radius. Others have a 5-NM radius, with the exception of a few which have a 3-NM radius. Control zones are capped at 3 000 feet AAE unless otherwise specified. Military control zones usually have a 10-NM radius and are capped at 6 000 feet AAE. All control zones are depicted on VFR aeronautical charts and the Enroute Low Altitude Charts. Control zones will be classified as “B”, “C”, “D” or “E” depending on the classification of the surrounding airspace.
The VFR weather minima for control zones are outlined in Figure 2.7. When weather conditions are below VFR minima, a pilot operating VFR may request special VFR (SVFR) authorization in order to enter the control zone. This authorization is normally obtained through the local tower or FSS, and must be obtained before SVFR is attempted within a control zone. ATC will issue an SVFR authorization, traffic and weather conditions permitting, only upon a request for SVFR from a pilot. SVFR will not be initiated by ATS. Once having received SVFR authorization, the pilot continues to remain responsible for avoiding other aircraft and weather conditions beyond the pilot’s own flight capabilities and the capabilities of the aircraft.
Figure 2.7 – VFR Weather Minima*
|AIRSPACE||FLIGHT VISIBILITY||DISTANCE FROM CLOUD||DISTANCE AGL|
|Control Zones||not less than 3 miles**||
horizontally: 1 mile
vertically: 500 feet
|vertically: 500 feet|
Other Controlled Airspace
|not less than 3 miles||
horizontally: 1 mile
vertically: 500 feet
|Uncontrolled Airspace||1 000 feet AGL or above||
not less than 1 mile (day)
3 miles (night)
horizontally: 2 000 feet
vertically: 500 feet
|below 1 000 feet AGL – fixed-wing||
not less than 2 miles (day)
3 miles (night)
(see Note 1)
|clear of cloud||—|
|below 1 000 feet AGL – helicopter||
not less than 1 mile (day)
3 miles (night)
(see Note 2)
|clear of cloud||—|
* See CAR 602, Division VI – Visual Flight Rules
** Ground visibility when reported
1: Notwithstanding CAR 602.115, an aircraft other than an helicopter may be operated in visibilities less than 2 miles during the day, when authorized to do so in an air operator certificate or in a private operator certificate.
2: Notwithstanding CAR 602.115, a helicopter may be operated in visibilities less than 1 mile during the day, when authorized to do so in an air operator certificate or in a flight training unit operator certificate -helicopter.
Special VFR weather minimum and requirements applicable within control zones are found in CAR 602.117, and are summarized as follows:
Where authorization is obtained from the appropriate ATC unit, a pilot-in-command may operate an aircraft within a control zone, in IFR weather conditions without compliance with the IFR, where flight visibility and, when reported, ground visibility are not less than:
(a) 1 mile for aircraft other than helicopters; and
(b) 1/2 mile for helicopters.
1: All aircraft, including helicopters, must be equipped with a radio capable of communicating with the ATC unit and must comply with all conditions issued by the ATC unit as part of the SVFR authorization.
2: Aircraft must operate clear of cloud and within sight of the ground at all times.
3: Helicopters should operate at such reduced airspeeds so as to give the pilot-in-command adequate opportunity to see other air traffic or obstructions in time to avoid a collision.
4: When the aircraft is being operated at night, ATC will only authorize special VFR where the authorization is for the purpose of allowing the aircraft to land at the destination aerodrome.
Figure 2.8 - Special VFR Weather Minima
(Ground when reported)
Aircraft other than
|1 mile||Clear of cloud|
2.7.4 VFR Over-the-Top
A person may operate an aircraft VFR over-the-top (VFR OTT), provided certain conditions are met. Those conditions include weather minima, aircraft equipment and pilot qualifications. Pilots should indicate that the flight is VFR OTT during communications with ATS units. Deviations from the intended route of flight may be necessary when transiting CZs or TCAs. Pilots should take into consideration the additional fuel requirements this may cause.
CAR 602.116 specifies the weather minima for VFR OTT. A summary of the minima follows:
- VFR OTT is allowed during the day only, and during the cruise portion of the flight only.
- The aircraft must be operated at a vertical distance from cloud of at least 1 000 ft.
- Where the aircraft is operated between two cloud layers, those layers must be at least 5 000 ft apart.
- The flight visibility at the cruising altitude of the aircraft must be at least 5 mi.
- The weather at the destination aerodrome must have a sky condition of scattered cloud or clear, and a ground visibility of 5 mi. or more, with no forecast of precipitation, fog, thunderstorms, or blowing snow, and these conditions must be forecast to exist
- in the case of an aerodrome forecast (TAF), for the period from 1 hr before to 2 hr after the ETA; and
- in the case of an area forecast (GFA) because a TAF is not available, for the period from 1 hr before to 3 hr after the ETA.
CARs 605.14 and 605.15 outline the aircraft equipment requirements for VFR OTT. In part, the equipment requirements are the same as for VFR flight, with extra requirements for VFR OTT.
Pilot qualifications for VFR OTT flight are specified in CARs Part IV — Personnel Licensing and Training.
2.7.5 Transition Areas
Transition areas are established when it is considered advantageous or necessary to provide additional controlled airspace for the containment of IFR operations.
Transition areas are of defined dimensions, based at 700 ft AGL, unless otherwise specified, and extend upwards to the base of overlying controlled airspace. The area provided around an aerodrome will normally be a 15 NM radius of the aerodrome coordinates, but shall be of sufficient size to contain all of the aerodrome published instrument. approach procedures. Even if described with an ASL floor, the base of a transition area shall not extend lower than 700 ft AGL.
2.7.6 Terminal Control Areas
Terminal control areas are established at high volume traffic airports to provide an IFR control service to arriving, departing and enroute aircraft. Aircraft operating in the TCA are subject to certain operating rules and equipment requirements. The TCA operating rules are established by the classification of the airspace within the TCA. These rules will be based on the level of ATC service that is appropriate for the number and type of aircraft using the airspace as well as the nature of the operations being conducted.
A TCA is similar to a control area extension except that:
– a TCA may extend up into the high level airspace;
– IFR traffic is normally controlled by a terminal control unit. The ACC will control a TCA during periods when a TCU is not in operation; and
– TCA airspace will normally be designed in a circular configuration, centred on the geographic coordinates of the primary aerodrome. The outer limit of the TCA should be at 45 NM radius from the aerodrome geographic coordinates based at 9 500 ft AGL, with an intermediate circle at 35 NM based at 2 200 ft AGL and an inner circle at 12 NM radius based at 1 200 ft AGL. Where an operational advantage may be gained, the area may be sectorized. For publication purposes, the altitudes may be rounded to the nearest appropriate increment and published as heights ASL. The floor of a TCA shall not extend lower than 700 ft AGL.
A military terminal control area is the same as a TCA, except that special provisions prevail for military aircraft while operating within the MTCA. MTCAs may be designated at selected military aerodromes where the control service will be provided by a military TCU, or by ATC, through agreement with DND.
2.8 Airspace Classification
Canadian Domestic Airspace is divided into seven classes, each identified by a single letter – A, B, C, D, E, F, or G. Flight within each class is governed by specific rules applicable to that class and are contained in CAR 601, Division I, Airspace Structure, Classification and Use.
The rules for operating within a particular portion of airspace depends on the classification of that airspace and not on the name by which it is commonly known. Thus, the rules for flight within a high level airway, a terminal control area or a control zone depend on the class of airspace within all or part of those areas. Weather minima are specified for controlled or uncontrolled airspace, not for each class of airspace.
2.8.1 Class A Airspace
Class A airspace is designated where an operational need exists to exclude VFR aircraft.
All operations must be conducted under Instrument Flight Rules and are subject to ATC clearances and instructions. ATC separation is provided to all aircraft.
All aircraft operating in Class A airspace must be equipped with a transponder and automatic pressure altitude reporting equipment.
Class A airspace will be designated from the base of all high-level controlled airspace, or from 700 ft AGL, whichever is higher, up to and including FL600.
2.8.2 Class B Airspace
Class B airspace is designated where an operational need exists to provide air traffic control service to IFR and to control VFR aircraft.
Operations may be conducted under IFR or VFR. All aircraft are subject to ATC clearances and instructions. ATC separation is provided to all aircraft.
All low level controlled airspace above 12 500 feet ASL or at and above the MEA, whichever is higher, up to but not including 18 000 feet ASL will be Class B airspace.
Control zones and associated terminal control areas may also be classified as Class B airspace.
1: No person shall operate an aircraft in Class B controlled airspace in VFR flight unless:
(a) the aircraft is equipped with:
(i) radio communication equipment capable of two-way communication with the appropriate ATS facility, and
(ii) radio navigation equipment capable of using navigation facilities to enable the aircraft to be operated in accordance with the flight plan, and
(iii) a transponder and automatic pressure altitude reporting equipment;
(b) a continuous listening watch is maintained by a flight crew member on a radio frequency assigned by ATC;
(c) except as otherwise authorized by ATC, when the aircraft is over a reporting point a position report is transmitted to the appropriate unit or, when so directed by ATC, to an FSS; and
(d) the aircraft is operated in VMC at all times.
2: A person operating an aircraft on a VFR flight in Class B airspace shall operate the aircraft in VMC at all times. When it becomes evident that flight in VMC will not be possible at the altitude or along the route specified, the pilot shall:
(a) request an ATC clearance which will enable the aircraft to be operated in VMC to the filed destination, or to another aerodrome;
(b) where the person is the holder of a valid instrument rating, request an IFR clearance for flight under the instrument flight rules; or
(c) where the Class B airspace is a control zone, request an authorization for special VFR flight.
3: A person operating an aircraft in Class B controlled airspace in VFR flight who is unable to comply with the requirements of the preceding paragraphs shall ensure that:
(a) the aircraft is operated in VMC at all times;
(b) the aircraft leaves Class B controlled airspace:
(i) by the safest and shortest route, either exiting horizontally or descending, or
(ii) when that airspace is a control zone, by landing at the aerodrome on which the control zone is based, and
(c) an ATC unit is informed as soon as possible of the actions taken pursuant to paragraph (b).
2.8.3 Class C Airspace
Class C airspace is a controlled airspace within which both IFR and VFR flights are permitted, but VFR flights require a clearance from ATC to enter. ATC separation is provided between all aircraft operating under IFR and, as necessary to resolve possible conflicts, between VFR and IFR aircraft. Aircraft will be provided with traffic information. Conflict resolution will be provided, upon request, after VFR aircraft is provided with traffic information.
Traffic information is issued to advise pilots of known or observed air traffic which may be in proximity to their aircraft’s position or intended route of flight warranting their attention. Conflict resolution is defined as the resolution of potential conflicts between IFR/VFR and VFR/VFR aircraft that are radar identified and in communication with ATC.
Airspace classified as Class C becomes Class E airspace when the appropriate ATC unit is not in operation.
Terminal control areas and associated control zones may be classified as Class C airspace.
A person operating an aircraft in VFR flight in Class C airspace shall ensure that:
(a) the aircraft is equipped with
(i) radio communication equipment capable of two-way communication with the appropriate ATC unit, and
(ii) a transponder and automatic pressure altitude reporting equipment; and
(b) a continuous listening watch is maintained by a flight crew member on a radio frequency assigned by ATC.
A person wishing to operate an aircraft that is not equipped with functioning communication and transponder equipment for VFR flight in Class C airspace may, during daylight hours and in VMC, enter Class C airspace provided that permission to enter and to operate within the airspace is obtained from ATC prior to the operation being conducted.
2.8.4 Class D Airspace
Class D airspace is a controlled airspace within which both IFR and VFR flights are permitted, but VFR flights must establish two-way communication with the appropriate ATC agency prior to entering the airspace. ATC separation is provided only to IFR aircraft. Aircraft will be provided with traffic information. Equipment and workload permitting, conflict resolution will be provided between VFR and IFR aircraft, and upon request between VFR aircraft.
Airspace classified as Class D becomes Class E airspace when the appropriate ATC unit is not in operation.
A terminal control area and associated control zone could be classified as Class D airspace.
A person operating an aircraft in VFR flight in Class D airspace shall ensure that:
(a) the aircraft is equipped with
(i) radio communication equipment capable of two-way communication with the appropriate ATC unit, and
(ii) where the Class D airspace is specified as Transponder Airspace (see RAC 1.9.2), a transponder and automatic pressure altitude reporting equipment; and
(b) a continuous listening watch is maintained by a flight crew member on a radio frequency assigned by ATC.
A person operating an aircraft in VFR flight that is not equipped with the required radio communication equipment may, during daylight hours in VMC, enter Class D airspace provided that permission to enter is obtained from the appropriate ATC unit prior to operating within the airspace.
2.8.5 Class E Airspace
Class E airspace is designated where an operational need exists for controlled airspace but does not meet the requirements for Class A, B, C, or D.
Operations may be conducted under IFR or VFR. ATC separation is provided only to aircraft operating under IFR. There are no special requirements for VFR.
Aircraft are required to be equipped with a transponder and automatic pressure altitude equipment to operate in Class E airspace that is specified as transponder airspace (see RAC 1.9.2).
Low level airways, control area extensions, transition areas, or control zones established without an operating control tower may be classified as Class E airspace.
2.8.6 Class F Airspace
Class F airspace is airspace of defined dimensions within which activities must be confined because of their nature, and within which limitations may be imposed upon aircraft operations that are not a part of those activities.
Special-use airspace may be classified as Class F advisory or as Class F restricted, and can be controlled airspace, uncontrolled airspace, or a combination of both. An advisory area, for example, may have the floor in uncontrolled airspace and the ceiling in controlled airspace. The significance, in this instance, is that the weather minima would be different in the controlled and uncontrolled portions.
Unless otherwise specified, the rules for the appropriate airspace apply in areas of Class F airspace, no matter if they are active or inactive.
Class F airspace shall be designated in the DAH (TP 1820E) in accordance with the airspace regulations, and shall be published on the appropriate aeronautical charts.
Charting of Class F Airspace
All designated Class F restricted and advisory airspace is published on HI or LO charts, as applicable, and on VFR aeronautical charts.
Each restricted and advisory area within Canada has been assigned an identification code group, which consists of the four following parts:
the nationality letters CY;
the letter R for restricted area (the letter D for danger area if the restricted area is established over international waters) or the letter A for advisory area;
a three-digit number that will identify the area. This number will indicate the Canadian region within which the area lies as follows:
|101 to 199 –||British Columbia|
201 to 299 –
301 to 399 –
401 to 499 –
501 to 599 –
601 to 699 –
701 to 799 –
New Brunswick, Nova Scotia,
Prince Edward Island, Newfoundland
801 to 899 –
901 to 999 –
Northwest Territories and Nunavut
(including the Arctic Islands)
in the case of advisory areas, the letter A, F, H, M, P, S or T in parentheses after the three-digit number that will indicate the type of activity within the area as follows:
|F –||aircraft test|
|H –||hang gliding|
|M –||military operations|
The identification code group CYA113(A) means the following:
|CY –||indicates Canada|
|A –||indicates advisory|
|113 –||indicates the number of an area in British Columbia|
|(A) –||indicates acrobatic activity takes place within the area.|
All altitudes will be inclusive, unless otherwise indicated (e.g. 5 000 to 10 000 ft). To indicate when either the bottom or upper altitude is not included, the words below and above will be placed before the appropriate altitude (e.g. above 5 000 to 10 000 ft, or 5 000 to below 10 000 ft).
Danger Area (International Waters)
Any restricted area that may be established over international waters, but controlled by Canadian ATC, will be indicated as a “danger area” in accordance with ICAO requirements. ICAO defines a danger area as airspace of defined dimensions within which activities dangerous to the flight of aircraft may exist at specified times.
Airspace may be classified as Class F advisory airspace if it is airspace within which an activity occurs that, for flight safety purposes, non-participating pilots should be aware of, such as training, parachuting, hang gliding, military operations, etc.
There are no specific restrictions that apply to the use of advisory airspace. VFR aircraft are, however, encouraged to avoid flight in advisory airspace unless participating in the activity taking place therein. If necessary, pilots of non-participating flights may enter advisory areas at their own discretion; however, due to the nature of the aerial activity, extra vigilance is recommended. Pilots of participating aircraft, as well as pilots flying through the area, are equally responsible for collision avoidance.
ATC will not clear IFR aircraft through Class F airspace, except if:
(a) the pilot states that permission has been obtained from the user agency to enter the airspace;
(b) the aircraft is operating on an altitude reservation approval (ALTRV APVL); or
(c) the aircraft has been cleared for a contact or visual approach.
IFR aircraft shall be provided 500 ft vertical separation from an active Class F advisory airspace, unless wake turbulence minima is applicable, in which case 1 000 ft vertical separation shall be applied.
Pilots intending to fly in Class F advisory airspace are encouraged to monitor an appropriate frequency, to broadcast their intentions when entering and leaving the area, and to communicate, as necessary, with other users to ensure flight safety in the airspace. In a Class F advisory uncontrolled airspace area, 126.7 MHz would be an appropriate frequency.
NOTE: Military operations in Class F airspace may be UHF only.
A restricted area is airspace of defined dimensions above the land areas or territorial waters within which the flight of aircraft is restricted in accordance with certain specified conditions. Restricted airspace is designated for safety purposes when the level or type of aerial activity, the surface activity, or the protection of a ground installation requires the application of restrictions within that airspace.
No person may conduct aerial activities within active Class F restricted airspace, unless permission has been obtained from the user agency. In some instances, the user agency may delegate the appropriate controlling agency the authority to approve access. IFR flights will not be cleared through active restricted areas, unless the pilot states that permission has been obtained.
The user agency is the civil or military agency or organization responsible for the activity for which the Class F airspace has been provided. It has the jurisdiction to authorize access to the airspace when it is classified restricted. The user agency must be identified for Class F restricted airspace, and where possible, it should be identified for Class F advisory airspace.
Special-use areas will be designated restricted areas and identified by the prefix CYR, followed by a three-digit number that identifies the location of the area.
Elements of existing airspace structure may also be designated as restricted airspace if it would facilitate the efficient flow of air traffic.
There are two additional methods of restricting airspace.
(a) CAR 601.16-Issuance of NOTAM for Forest Fire Aircraft Operating Restrictions, is designed to allow the Minister to issue a NOTAM to restrict flight around and over forest fire areas or areas where forest fire control operations are being conducted. The provisions of this section can be invoked quickly via NOTAM by Transport Canada (see RAC 2.9.2).
(b) Section 5.1 of the Aeronautics Act allows the Minister to restrict flight in any airspace, for any purpose, by NOTAM. This authority is delegated by the Minister to cover specific situations, such as well fires, disaster areas, etc., for the purpose of ensuring safety of flight for air operations in support of the occurrence.
It should be noted that airspace that is restricted by invoking CAR 601.16 or section 5.1 of the Aeronautics Act is not Class F restricted airspace; the airspace has not been classified in accordance with the airspace regulations. This distinction is important to those who are charged with the responsibility for restricting airspace, since their actions are governed by the provisions of the Statutory Instruments Act.
Joint-use airspace is Class F airspace within which operations may be authorized by the controlling agency when it is not being utilized by the user agency.
Class F restricted airspace should be available for use by non-participating aircraft when all or part of the airspace is not required for its designated purpose.
To ensure maximum utilization of restricted airspace, user agencies should be encouraged to make restricted airspace available for the conduct of operations or training of other agencies or commands on a joint-use basis.
The ATC agency may be designated to provide air traffic control or information service within the Class F airspace involved. A controlling agency will normally be assigned when there is joint use of the airspace.
It is permissible to designate Class F restricted airspace by NOTAM, if the following prerequisites are met:
(a) the area of restricted airspace is required for a specified period of time of relative short duration (i.e. several hours or days); and
(b) the appropriate NOTAM is issued at least 24 hr in advance of the area’s activation.
2.8.7 Class G Airspace
Class G airspace is airspace that has not been designated Class A, B, C, D, E or F, and within which ATC has neither the authority nor the responsibility to exercise control over air traffic.
However, ATS units do provide flight information and alerting services. The alerting service will automatically alert SAR authorities once an aircraft becomes overdue, which is normally determined from data contained in the flight plan or flight itinerary.
In effect, Class G is all uncontrolled domestic airspace.
Low-level air routes are contained within Class G airspace. They are basically the same as a low-level airway, except that they extend upwards from the surface of the earth and are not controlled. The lateral dimensions are identical to those of a low-level airway (see RAC 2.7.1).
2.9 Other Airspace Divisions
Additional airspace divisions have been designated in order to increase safety or make allowances for the remote or mountainous regions within Canada. These divisions (or regions) are: altimeter setting region, standard pressure region and designated mountainous region.
2.9.1 Altitude Reservation
An altitude reservation is airspace of defined dimensions within controlled airspace reserved for the use of a civil or military agency during a specified period. An altitude reservation may be confined to a fixed area (stationary) or moving in relation to the aircraft that operates within it (moving). Information on the description of each altitude reservation is normally published by NOTAM. Civil altitude reservations are normally for a single aircraft, while those for military use are normally for more than one aircraft.
Pilots should plan to avoid known altitude reservations. ATC will not clear an unauthorized flight into an active reservation. IFR and CVFR flights are provided with standard separation from altitude reservations.
2.9.2 Temporary Flight Restrictions-Forest Fires
In the interest of safe and efficient fire fighting operations, the Minister may issue a NOTAM restricting flights over a forest fire area to those operating at the request of the appropriate fire control authority (i.e. water bombers), or to those with written permission from the Minister.
The NOTAM would identify the following:
(a) the location and dimensions of the forest fire area;
(b) any airspace in which forest fire control operations are being conducted; and
(c) the length of time during which flights are restricted in the airspace.
No person shall operate an aircraft in the airspace below 3 000 ft AGL within 5 NM of the limits of a forest fire area, or as described in a NOTAM (CARs 601.15, 601.16, and 601.17).
2.9.3 Flight Operations Over or in the Vicinity of Nuclear Power Plants
Pilots are reminded that overflights of nuclear power plants shall be carried out in accordance with the provisions of CAR 602.14(2) (see RAC 5.4).
Pilots should also be aware that loitering in the vicinity of, or circling, nuclear power plants should be avoided. Aircraft observed operating in this manner in the vicinity of nuclear power plants could be intercepted by government or law-enforcement aircraft, and escorted away from the facility to the nearest suitable aerodrome to be interviewed by police authorities.
2.10 Altimeter Setting Region
The altimeter setting region is an airspace of defined dimensions below 18 000 feet ASL (see CAR 602.35 and Figure 2.9) within which the following altimeter setting procedures apply:
Departure – Prior to takeoff, the pilot shall set the aircraft altimeter to the current altimeter setting of that aerodrome or, if that altimeter setting is not available, to the elevation of the aerodrome.
En route – During flight the altimeter shall be set to the current altimeter setting of the nearest station along the route of flight or, where such stations are separated by more than 150 NM, the nearest station to the route of flight.
Arrival – When approaching the aerodrome of intended landing the altimeter shall be set to the current aerodrome altimeter setting, if available.
2.11 Standard Pressure Region
The standard pressure region includes all airspace over Canada at or above 18 000 feet ASL (the high level airspace), and all low level airspace that is outside of the lateral limit of the altimeter setting region (see Figure 2.9 and CAR 602.36). Within the standard pressure region the following flight procedures apply;
General – Except as otherwise indicated below, no person shall operate an aircraft within the standard pressure region unless the aircraft altimeter is set to standard pressure, which is 29.92 inches of mercury or 1013.2 mbs. (See Note).
Departure – Prior to takeoff the pilot shall set the aircraft altimeter to the current altimeter setting of that aerodrome or, if the altimeter setting is not available, to the elevation of that aerodrome. Immediately prior to reaching the flight level at which flight is to be conducted, the altimeter shall be set to standard pressure (29.92 inches of mercury or 1013.2 mbs). If the planned cruising flight level is above FL180, resetting the altimeter to 29.92 inches of mercury or 1013.2 mbs at 18 000 feet ASL is acceptable and meets the requirement of CAR 602.36.
Arrival – Prior to commencing descent with the intention to land, the altimeter shall be set to the current altimeter setting of the aerodrome of intended landing, if available. However, if a holding procedure is conducted, the altimeter shall not be set to the current aerodrome altimeter setting until immediately prior to descending below the lowest flight level at which the holding procedure is conducted. Pilots of aircraft descending from cruising flight levels above FL180 may reset altimeters to the current altimeter setting of the aerodrome of intended landing when approaching FL180 provided no holding or cruise level flight below FL180 is to be made or anticipated.
Transition – CAR 602.37 – Altimeter Setting and Operating Procedures in Transition between Regions, specifies that except as otherwise authorized by ATC, aircraft progressing from one region to another shall make the change in the altimeter setting while within the standard pressure region prior to entering, or after leaving, the altimeter setting region. If the transition is to be made into the altimeter setting region while in level cruising flight, the pilot should obtain the current altimeter setting from the nearest station along the route of flight as far as practical before reaching the point at which the transition is to be made. When climbing from the altimeter setting region into the standard pressure region, pilots shall set their altimeters to standard pressure (29.92 inches of mercury or 1013.2 mbs) immediately after entering the standard pressure region. When descending into the altimeter setting region, pilots shall set their altimeters to the appropriate station altimeter setting immediately prior to descending into the altimeter setting region. Normally, the pilot will receive the appropriate altimeter setting as part of the ATC clearance prior to descent. If it is not incorporated in the clearance, it should be requested by the pilot.
NOTE: When an aircraft is operating in the standard pressure region with standard pressure set on the altimeter subscale, the term “flight level” is used in lieu of “altitude” to express its height. Flight level is always expressed in hundreds of feet. For example FL250 represents an altimeter indication of 25 000 feet; FL50, an indication of 5 000 feet.
Figure 2.9 – Altimeter Setting and Standard Pressure Regions
2.12 Mountainous Regions
Designated mountainous regions are areas of defined lateral dimensions specified in the Designated Airspace Handbook, above which special rules concerning minimum IFR altitudes to ensure obstacle clearance (CAR 602.124) apply.
An aircraft, when operated in accordance with IFR within designated mountainous regions, but outside of areas for which minimum altitudes for IFR operations have been established (including minimum radar vectoring altitudes, MOCAs, transition altitudes, 100NM safe altitudes, MSAs and AMAs), shall be flown at an altitude of at least 2000 feet above the highest obstacle within 5NM of the aircraft in flight when in areas 1 and 5, and at least 1500 feet above the highest obstacle within 5NM when in areas 2, 3 and 4. (See Figure 2.10.)
As minimum enroute IFR altitudes have been established for designated airways and air routes, such minimum altitudes shall be applied when flying in accordance with IFR along airways or air routes within designated mountainous regions, except that aircraft should be operated at an altitude which is at least 1000 feet higher than the minimum enroute IFR altitude, when there are large variations in temperature and (or) pressure. (See RAC 8.6)
Figure 2.10 – Designated Mountainous Regions in Canada
2.13 Emergency Communications and Security
The rules for operating within the Air Defence Identification Zone (ADIZ) are specified in CAR 602.145 – ADIZ, and are repeated in RAC 3.9.
Figure 2.11 – Air Defence Identification Zone
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